Palestinian Authority textbooks teach pupils to be expendable ‘martyrs’

As such, the report concluded that the curriculum does not meet the UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance in education.

Students in a classroom [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Students in a classroom [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The latest Palestinian Authority elementary school textbooks are even more radical than previous editions, according to a report just issued by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.
The report was based on examination of elementary- school grades one through four and high-school grades 11 and 12 of the 2016-2017 PA’s educational curriculum.
The new textbooks showed deterioration in messages of tolerance and peace compared to previous editions.
Palestinian media showing incitement aimed at children
They teach pupils to become expendable martyrs and reject negotiations, while demonizing and denying the existence of the State of Israel, according to the findings.
“Despite assurances from the PA Education Ministry, these new books are actually more radical than we have previously seen,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said of the findings.
“There is clear evidence of a strategy of radicalization of young Palestinians, devised and implemented by the ministry, which includes a commitment to an Arab Palestine encompassing the entirety of Israel,” he said.
IMPACT-se is a research center that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for compliance with UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance.
It was founded in 1998 and is based in Jerusalem. The study, conducted by Dr. Eldad Pardo of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focused on 45 textbooks and teacher’s guides published in 2016.
The report provides numerous examples of radicalization. One third-grade textbook encourages children to become “martyrs” by using an illustration of pupils in the classroom looking at their friend’s empty desk, with a sign that reads: “The Martyr.”
Another example, from a fourthgrade math textbook, asks pupils to compute how many martyrs died in the two intifadas combined. The question is accompanied by a photograph of a funeral procession featuring coffins draped in the Palestinian flag.
The study further found that the struggle against Israel and its disappearance were main themes in the schoolbooks.
A political map in a third-grade textbook shows Palestine in the entire territory of Israel. While neighboring Arab countries are shown, Israel is not depicted. The pupils are asked to look at the map to find Ramallah and four other cities. The map includes many Israeli cities with their names changed to Arabic, including Tel Aviv, which is called Tal al-Rabi (Mound of Spring).
“The most troubling aspects of this curriculum involve the attitude of PA/PLO/Fatah authorities toward the six- to 10-year-old children who are considered to be expendable; and the indoctrination of these youth to the idea that all of Israel belongs to Palestine and all Israelis are evil,” the report stated.
The study did find some positive notes in the curriculum for elementary school pupils, including that national institutions and authorities should be respected and that Islam is not to be used as a radical political tool.
Furthermore, traditional gender roles are maintained by girls and boys, who are not depicted as segregated, and veiling is accepted but not specifically encouraged.
Christianity is included in the elementary school curriculum, though negative messages about non-Muslims prevail and Jewish roots and connections to the land are entirely omitted.
“The strategy of violence and pressure [in place of negotiations] is advocated as the most effective action to achieve Palestinian goals,” the report stated.
Furthermore, the findings indicated that within the higher-grade textbooks there remained an “absolute lack of empathy for the ‘other’ nor any comprehension or explanation of the root causes of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.”
As such, the report concluded that the curriculum does not meet the UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance in education.